ty: On November 5, 1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt broke a long-held precedent—one that started with George Washington—when he became the first president elected to a third term. Roosevelt would go on to vie for, and win, yet a fourth term, taking office again on January 20, 1945. FDR was the first, and last, president to win more than two consecutive presidential elections and his exclusive four terms were in part a consequence of timing. His election for a third term took place as the United States remained in the throes of the Great Depression and World War II had just begun. While multiple presidents had sought third terms before, the instability of the times allowed FDR to make a strong case for stability. “You have economic-domestic issues and you have foreign policy with the outbreak of World War II in 1939,” says Barbara Perry, professor and director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. “And then you have his own political viability—he had won the 1936 election with more than two-thirds of the popular vote.” Eventually U.S. lawmakers pushed back, arguing that term limits were necessary to keep abuse of power in check. Two years after FDR’s death, Congress passed the 22nd Amendment, limiting presidents to two terms. Then amendment was then ratified in 1951.